Friday, 23 January 2009

US housing weakens, Canadian leading indicators decline, European industrial orders fall

The economic reports are all coming in negative now.

There is no recovery in the US housing market in sight. From MarketWatch:

Closing out the third year of the housing bust, construction on new homes took another turn for the worse in December, falling more than 15% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 550,000, the lowest on record, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Permits to build single-family homes also fell, dropping 12.3% to 363,000 last month, while total permits including apartments dropped 10.7% to a 549,000 annual rate. The figures represented record lows for both single-family and total permits...

The mood of home builders' has rarely been worse. The National Association of Home Builders reported Wednesday that its sentiment index fell to a record-low 8 in January. See full story.

Meanwhile, the US employment situation continues to deteriorate.

In a separate report Thursday, the Labor Department said first-time filings for unemployment benefits rose by 62,000 last week to 589,000. The number of new claims and continuing claims were at the highest levels since 1982. See full story.

There was also gloomy economic news north of the border. On Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian retail sales fell 2.4 percent in November while the composite index of leading indicators fell 0.6 percent in November.

And across the Atlantic, the outlook is looking gloomy too. From Bloomberg:

Industrial orders in the euro zone declined 26 percent from the year-earlier month, the European Union statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That was the biggest drop since the euro was introduced a decade ago and exceeded economists’ median estimate for a drop of 20 percent in a Bloomberg News survey. Excluding transport, orders fell 23 percent...

From the prior month, orders fell 4.5 percent in November, less than the 5 percent drop forecast by economists.

And across the English Channel as well. From Reuters:

The Confederation of British Industry's monthly industrial trends...survey's factory orders balance tumbled to -48 in January from December's -35, the lowest since July 1992...

The balance measuring companies' expectations for output over the next three months fell to -43 from -42, the weakest since September 1980.

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